Urdu is the national and one of the two official languages of Pakistan, the other being English, and is spoken and understood throughout the country, while the state-by-state languages (languages spoken throughout various regions) are the provincial languages. Only 8% of Pakistanis speak only Urdu. It is used in education, literature, office and court business. It holds in itself a repository of the cultural and social heritage of the country. Although English is used in most elite circles, and Punjabi has a plurality of native speakers, Urdu is the lingua franca and national language in Pakistan.
Urdu is also one of the officially recognized languages in India and has official language status in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and the national capital, New Delhi.
In Jammu and Kashmir, section 145 of the Kashmir Constitution provides: "The official language of the State shall be Urdu but the English language shall unless the Legislature by law otherwise provides, continue to be used for all the official purposes of the State for which it was being used immediately before the commencement of the Constitution."
The importance of Urdu in the Muslim world is visible in the Holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, where most informational signage is written in Arabic, English and Urdu, and sometimes in other languages. more....